One Texas city will run on 100 percent clean energy by 2017

In the heart of oil and republican climate-denier country, one Texas city is breaking down the stereotypes – because it plans to be completely powered by solar and wind power by 2017. Jim Briggs, interim city manager of Georgetown, a city of about 50,000 situated just 25 miles north of Austin, says he started exploring the idea of renewable energy after discovering it was actually cheaper than non-renewable sources.

According to Grist, Briggs faced some serious flack for the decision to make Georgetown 100 percent renewable-powered. But despite being called an “Al Gore clone,” and a “tree hugger,” Briggs forged ahead with the practical goal of providing the people of Georgetown with lower-cost, more secure energy.

“I’m probably the furthest thing from an Al Gore clone you could find,” Briggs said. “We didn’t do this to save the world – we did this to get a competitive rate and reduce the risk for our consumers.”

Until recently, the power in Georgetown was totally monopolized by the city utility company. In an energy market like Texas, which boasts a wide array of energy providers that compete for rates, Briggs and his staff realized that there were more options available, renewable energy was cheaper, and it would be relatively easy to switch.

So in February of this year, the city signed a deal with multinational solar energy giant, SunEdison to siwtch over the electricity in the city’s service area switched over to wind and solar power by 2017.

Add to that a deal with EDF for wind power from an upcoming project near Amarillo, and the city is on track to be running completely on renewable energy by 2017.